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Join 411’s Live WWE Royal Rumble Coverage

January 28, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
WWE Royal Rumble 2023 Image Credit: WWE

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Well hello there everyone, Winfree back again and let’s all hope this is better than last years Rumble. Yeesh, what a terrible show that was. The Royal Rumble, the traditional start of the build to WrestleMania, and potentially one of the more fun events of the year. Last year the WrestleMania sign caught on fire. . . twice. But as for this year, we’ve got a decent card. Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss exists, and Bray Wyatt tries to build some momentum after his return when he takes on LA Knight in the outside sponsored bout of the evening, and Undisputed WWE Universal champion Roman Reigns looks to extend his incredible title reign against Kevin Owens as the drama around Sami Zayn continues to loom in the background. There’s also the two Rumble matches of course, which are the big draw for the event. Well that’s the preamble, such as it exists, let’s get this show on the road.

We’ve got some time on the preshow, there’s an announcement that the only person accompanying Roman Reigns for his title match will be Sami Zayn.

Cody Rhodes hype video, then Gabriel Iglesias joins the desk and is rooting for Rey Mysterio to win the Rumble. He teases being in the Rumble, which I find doubtful. Some video in the back of different wrestlers pulling their numbers for the Rumble, Santos Escobar seems happy while Drew McIntyre is not happy. Gabriel’s favorite Rumble moment was Mick Foley playing all three versions of himself across the Rumble. While Gabriel is rooting for Rey, but his more serious pick for winner is Cody Rhodes. Pretty good reaction for the mention of Cody. Most of the panel picks Cody but a few votes for Brock Lesnar.

Video hype for Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens, it’s the usual excellent job from the WWE production team. Everyone predicts Roman Reigns retaining this titles. That’ll close the preshow, time for the event proper to start.

Michael Cole and Corey Graves are on commentary, God help us. I truly hate this pairing, though thankfully Cole without Vince in his ear it’s a little better. Up first, the men’s Royal Rumble. Wait, here comes Pat McAfee, please please replace Graves. McAfee and Cole hug, and McAfee is joining commentary though Graves is here to round out the three man booth. OK, Graves as the sourpuss between Cole and McAfee might actually work.

Match #1: Royal Rumble

#1 Gunther. Well we know who’s going long, and Gunther is a good choice of potential iron man.

#2 Sheamus. Oh boy, these two are gonna beat the crap out of each other all over again.

They start jaw jacking right away then here come the strikes. Sheamus gets the better of strikes then they trade shoulder blocks but neither man goes down. Hard chop from Gunther then he goes to eliminate Sheamus but Sheamus fights back and hits an Irish Curse. Now Sheamus goes for an elimination but Gunther defends as we’re getting out next man.

#3 The Miz.

Miz doesn’t want to get in the ring, he distracts Sheamus and Gunther tries to take him out, but Sheamus fights back. Sheamus exits the ring through the ropes and chases Miz, who runs into a Gunther chop. Things settle down now as Sheamus and Gunther take turns abusing Miz. Gunther chopping Miz makes me happy.

#4 Kofi Kingston.

Kofi flies in with a cross body to Sheamus and Gunther. The usual running wild from Kofi then Sheamus catches him and goes for an elimination but Kofi slides back in from the apron. Gunther and Sheamus go back to beating the crap out of each other.

#5 Johnny Gargano.

Gargano takes his time getting to the ring, then launches himself at Kofi and lays in some kicks. Miz nearly eliminates Gargano but Gargano hangs on and hits the One Final Beat to Miz. Gargano nearly eliminates Miz, then holds him in place on the apron so Sheamus can go beating the Bodhran, Sheamus gets all the way up to 25 setting up Gargano and Sheamus eliminating Miz.

#6 Xavier Woods.

Woods sprints to the ring and he and Kofi team up on Gunther for some tandem offense. Double drop kick to Sheamus then Gargano takes some offense and Kofi and Woods stare off. Woods and Kofi square up now, fake some conflict then get attacked by Gunther and Sheamus.

#7 Karrion Kross.

Kross runs wild on Woods and Kofi for a bit with throws and strikes. Gunther chops Kross but Kross is happy to throw hands with him. Lariat from Gunther to floor Kross, but Kross pops up and hits a Saito suplex on Gunther. Sheamus and Kross start trading now, I’d love to see more of Kross and either of these two guys down the line. Feels like a better fit for his style.

#8 Chad Gable.

Gable attacks Gargano and Kofi, shooshing them along the way. Throws from Gable, then Woods shooshes Gable. Gable out wrestles Woods but it’s a lot of fun between them. German suplex to Woods and Gable stands as the clock starts running down again.

#9 Drew McIntyre.

Drew looks pissed and starts unloading right away with throws and headbutts. Reverse Alabama Slam from Drew as he slams Gargano onto Woods. Kross and Drew square up, and Drew kicks Kross out of the ring with a Claymore. Now Drew and Gunther square off. Oh yeah. They trade chops for a while before Drew hits a Future Shock DDT.

#10 Santos Escobar.

No idea why Escobar was happy about that number, unless he failed to express his dismay. Escobar with some attacks early, then he and Gable have a communication issue. Escobar goes up top, and takes out Gable with a cross body. Things slow down again, then Escobar with a Phantom Driver to Gargano.

#11 Angelo Dawkins.

Dawkins runs wild, Woods is nearly eliminated but he stays in. Gunther chops down Woods then again tries to toss him but he hangs on. Kofi avoids a boot and Gunther kicks Woods out to eliminate him. Kofi and Escobar line up and Kofi hits a pop up double stomp before Gunther takes out Kofi and Kofi was clearly trying to land on a chair but that did not go well and Kofi is down.

#12 Brock Lesnar.

Brock goes right after Sheamus and Drew, taking them down with German suplexes. Germans for everyone, then Escobar is caught jumping and Brock with a fall away slam to eliminate Escobar then clotheslines Dawkins out of the Rumble. Brock tosses Gable, then suplexes for Sheamus and Drew. Gunther and Brock stare off now. Before things get physical Bobby Lashley is next.

#13 Bobby Lashley.

Brock with a belly to belly for Gunther then turns into a Spear from Lashley. Lashley runs wild for a bit with Spears for everyone before Brock hoists him up for an F5 but Lashley slips free and clotheslines Brock out of the Rumble. Brock is pissed and stares down Lashley.

#14 Baron Corbin.

Brock smashes up the announce table with the ring steps, then wipes out Corbin on the outside with an F5 on the floor. Less Corbin is always a good thing. Brock now attacks some officials, then stalks around for a bit.

#15 Seth Rollins.

Drew looks for the reverse Alabama Slam on Gunther but Gunther fights him off. Rollins sees Corbin on the floor, he tosses Corbin into the ring, then immediately super kicks him and eliminates Corbin. Sheamus and Rollins square up and trade strikes.

#16 Otis.

Otis runs wild with some slams. Otis stomps Gargano, but not much happens.

#17 Rey Mysterio.

Rey’s music plays but no sign of Rey. Rollins with super kicks to Lashley but he can’t eliminate him. Lashley goes to toss Rollins but Rollins slips off of his shoulders and tosses Lashley over the top rope. Otis with the Caterpillar to Gunther. Things break down again.

#18 Dominik Mysterio.

Dominik comes out with the mask of Rey, as Sheamus and Drew eliminate Otis. Dominik is so physically weak he can’t tear the mask of Rey. Sheamus stares down Dominik on the outside, Dominik wont get in the ring. Gunther with a chop to Rollins. Dominik tries to attack Sheamus, that’s just funny as Sheamus calls him on.

#19 Elias.

Rollins and Sheamus attack Dominik for a bit, here’s Elias with his guitar and he runs around throwing shots then breaks the guitar across the back of Gunther. Drew and Sheamus with a double headbutt to Elias. Drew wants a Claymore, Sheamsu with a Brogue at the same time to Elias and they dump him out of the ring. Gargano unloads on Dominik.

#20 Finn Balor.

Balor in absolutely no hurry to get into the ring, but when he gets there it’s Sling Blade time for Drew. Balor with attacks to Sheamus and Rollins before Gargano super kicks him. Gargano tries to take out Balor but Dominik cuts him off and goes to eliminate him but Gargano hangs tough despite eating a kick from Balor. Balor and Dominik eliminate Gargano. Drew and Sheamus square off with Dominik and Balor.

#21 Booker T.

Booker runs wild, Book End to Balor then a spinarooni. Booker looks great for a man almost 60. Gunther then tosses Booker. Drew and Sheamus menace Gunther, who’s bleeding on the back.

#22 Damian Priest.

Priest attacks Sheamus and Drew right away before Gunther gets involved. Judgement Day all gang up on Rollins. Balor with a backbreaker to Rollins.

#23 Montez Ford.

Ford comes in, nearly eliminates Dominik but then backhands Priest. Balor tries to take out Ford but Ford skins the cat and lays out Balor with a right hand. Priest chokeslams Ford over the top rope and out of the match. Ford landed on his feet impressively but he’s still out.

#24 Edge.

Oh boy. Edge is pissed and Judgement Day is pissing themselves. Spears from Edge to everyone, Dominik tries a 619 but Edge Spears him out of his boots. Edge tosses Priest, tosses Balor, then looks at Rollins. These two had a few wars between them, but Dominik attacks Edge, only for Edge to go after him but Balor and Priest pull Edge over the top rope and beat him down on the floor. Rollins starts stomping on Dominik.

#25 Austin Theory.

Edge is attacking Balor and Priest on the entrance way, Rhea Ripley jumps Edge from behind but here comes Beth Phoenix. Beth wipes her out with a Spear. Theory finally arrives in the ring, he exists in there as the clock starts again.

#26 Omos.

Drew and Sheamus attack Omos, but Omos clotheslines them down. Boot to Dominik, then a side slam to Theory as Omos celebrates. Gunther chops Omos a couple of times, Omos then chokeslams Gunther.

#27 Braun Strowman.

Braun goes after Omos when he finally gets to the ring, they start trading right away and Braun staggers Omos with a punch but then Omos misses a charge and Braun clotheslines Omos over the top rope. Now Braun with punches to everyone. Gunther chops the crap out of Dominik in the corner. Drew and Sheamus try to take out Rollins but Rollins is able to hang on.

#28 Ricochet.

Braun and Ricochet work together for a bit. Drew and Sheamus go after Braun, it takes a misdirection but they get him over the top and set for the Bodhran Beatings which Gunther interrupts and nearly takes out Drew before Sheamus saves him. Sheamus with a Finlay Roll to Gunther. Theory is in peril but hangs on as Gunther lays in chops to Sheamus. Sheamus on the apron, nearly eliminated but Sheamus tries to help him, only for Gunther to eliminate both of them. Gunther remains awesome.

#29 Logan Paul.

Well we know who 30 is. Logan stands around, please let Gunther chop him. Everyone just stares at Logan then then all start stomping on him. Ricochet tries to take out Logan but he lands on the apron and hits a Buckshot Lariat to Ricochet. Gunther has had enough of this and chops Logan into oblivion. Logan survives an elimination attempt and stares down Braun. Braun and Logan square up, Braun then plants him with a running powerslam, Ricochet follows with a standing Shooting Star Press.

#30 Cody Rhodes.

Cody runs wild as he gets in the ring, then Cody Cutter connects and he takes off the weight belt then tosses it into the crowd. Dominik tries the 3 Amigos on Cody, but Cody blocks the third and hits a Cross Rhodes then tosses Dominik. Braun with a Monster Bomb to Cody. Gunther picks up Baun, hits the Last Symphony on Braun. Running Shiranui to Gunther from Ricochet then Theory tries to get rid of Ricochet. Logan is still legal, he and Ricochet with a sick springboard mid air crossbody spot. That sounded sick. Cody looks to toss Ricochet, Braun saves his little buddy only for Cody to take out Braun. Ricochet goes after Cody, but Theory takes out Ricochet with a clothesline.

Final Four is Gunther, Cody, Theory, and Rollins.

Cody sets up Theory for a Rollins Stomp then Cody takes out Theory. Now Rollins and Cody stare off, Gunther is still here bless him. No sign pointing from anyone yet, guess they don’t want it catching on fire again. Rollins and Cody yell at each other then circle, but Gunther chops down Rollins. Cody and Rollins work together to attack Gunther, Rollins hits a Pedigree then Rhodes with a Pedigree of his own to Gunther. Wait, I’m wrong, we’re now at the final four, Logan Paul is still legal.

Correction, your final Four is Cody, Logan, Rollins, and Gunther.

Rollins and Cody trade finish counters, then Rollins lands a super kick, but here’s Logan go toss Rollins from behind. Rollins is shocked. Some stomps from Logan, and Logan is the first man of the night to point at the WrestleMania sign. Logan misses a punch on Cody, who hits a Cross Rhodes then tosses Logan. Down to Cody and Gunther.

Number 1 vs. Number 30, Gunther calls on Cody. Gunther with a sick chop. Cody with some punches, then he’s chopped to the mat by Gunther. Cody flips out of a back suplex, more punches from Cody but Gunther cuts him off with another chop. More chops from Gunther, Cody’s selling is amazing. Gunther charges at Cody, but Cody avoids him and Gunther is on the apron, Cody goes for an elimination but Guther counters with a right hand. More blows to the chest from Gunther, but Cody wont go away. Gunther puts Cody on the top rope and chops him, then climbs up to stomp on him, Cody falls to the apron but he hangs on as Gunther stomps his chest. Shoulder strike from Cody, then he climbs to the top rope, but Gunther chops him. They head up top again and fight for position, superplex from Gunther. Gunther stands over Cody and calls him on, then boots him in the ribs. Cody looks to Hulk up, he calls on Gunther who’s happy to oblige. But Cody lands a series of strikes, a Cody Cutter then he shoves Gunther to the apron. Gunther just wont go away, he’s hanging on the apron but Cody hits a Dragon Screw through the ropes as Gunther heads into the ring. Body blows from Cody, then he hits a Shattered Dreams! Gunther fights back with a chop, then a shotgun drop kick. Gunther with a Powerbomb, then he tries to toss Cody but Cody again barely hangs on. They trade chops, Cody is on the apron still and Gunther grabs a Sleeper. Cody pulls Gunther over the top, he’s fading but Gunther is going over and chooses to break the hold. Cody jumps into a chop. Gunther with a Last Symphony attempt but Cody counters into Cross Rhodes. Cody finally clotheslines Gunther over the top rope and wins.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Cody Rhodes won

Rating: 4 stars

Give Gunther every belt please, his performance here was genuinely incredible, but the winner here was almost a foregone conclusion. This should be a good example of how doing the expected thing isn’t always bad. Darn good Rumble match.

Having to follow an emotional moment like that will be tough, but making it this kind of gimmick might actually help as smoke and mirrors can help the crowd come down without fully losing them.

Match #2 – MTN Dew Pitch Black Match: Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight

So, anything goes and you win by pin or submission. The lights go down and Bray shows off black light clothing and paint. Bray attacks right away and lays in elbows on the mat. I’m not the biggest fan of the neon aesthetic but this is kind of working. Bray tosses Knight around then hits a choke belly to belly suplex. Knight takes a powder but there’s no safety there as Bray follows him. Knight is able to send Bray into the ring steps and Bray takes a modified Foley bump there. Knight moves the stairs to be by the announce table, then Bray shoves Knight over the barricade. Now Bray clears off the announce table, then looks to suplex Knight into it but Knight defends. Bray climbs the stairs then Knight flies up and hits him so they both crash through the table. Bray starts throwing stuff into the ring, then Knight attacks him as they get back in the ring. Knight fights off a chokeslam but Bray shoves him out of the ring when Knight tries the BFT. Knight has found a colored kendo stick and lays into Bray with it. Bray catches Knight with a Sister Abigail and pins to win.


Rating: 2.5 stars

Not as bad as it could have been, and I get what they were going for aesthetically but I don’t think it quite translated to TV the way they wanted. That said they handled this relatively well.

Post match Bray applies a different set of paint or a mask and Knight tries to run away as Bray stalks him. Bray no sells a few kendo stick shots as Knight keeps running from this horror movie monster. They move up to a production area where Bray grabs a Mandible Claw. Uncle Howdy is above them and seems to approve, then hits a Coffin Drop style dive onto Knight and pyro goes off around them. The puppets appear above where Howdy had been and look on the carnage below. OK, that whole thing will be divisive but I can dig it.

They brag about the attendance number of 51,338.

Match #3 – RAW Women’s Title Match: (c) Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss

Bliss attacks right away and we get a brawl. Belair overpowers Bliss and drops her with a clothesline. Sort of a hip toss from Belair, not the best bump from Bliss there. Belair goes for a 10 punch but Bliss slips free and slams Belair down then hits a basement dropkick. Some kicks and stomps from Bliss then she tries a bow and arrow but they struggle to get the position right. Double knees to the back from Bliss get a 1 count then Bliss grabs a chin lock. Belair fights up and blocks a roll up but Bliss lands a few more kicks before grabbing another chin lock. Bliss climbs the ropes and grabs the chin lock again, Belair pulls free and spins Bliss around to hit a suplex. Some strikes from Belair then a drop kick. The crowd is pretty dead for this. Belair is able to get the crowd partially back for a 10 punch in the corner then Belair climbs the ropes and grabs her own chin lock. Handspring moonsault from Belair but Bliss gets the knees up. They botch a faceplant move then Belair does hit the handspring moonsault for 2. These two just don’t seem like they’re on the same page here. Belair goes for the Kiss of Death, but Bliss fights free and lands some strikes before Belair blocks a kick and tries a powerbomb but Bliss slips free and hits a DDT for 2. A few more stomps from Bliss then a senton for another 2 count. Bliss threatens a scratch, then avoids a whip from Belair, threatens a Sister Abigail but Belair counters into the Kiss of Death for the win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Bianca Belair retained the title

Rating: 2 stars

This was rough, several points where things weren’t quite lining up, the crowd was pretty disinterested, and there wasn’t a ton of chemistry between Bliss and Belair.

We get a creepy video then Uncle Howdy asks if Bliss feels like she’s in charge. Bliss looks scared in the ring.

Match #4: Women’s Royal Rumble

#1 Rhea Ripley. She could easily go wire to wire, and she’s still selling the Beth Spear.

#2 Liv Morgan. Well Morgan has been going on about wanting to go through everyone, she gets her wish I guess.

Morgan and Ripley square off, Morgan points at the sign which is usually a bad omen. They start trading strikes, Ripley easily gets the best of things and tosses Morgan around. Morgan eats a big boot and Ripley looks at the sign but doesn’t point. Backstabber from Morgan then a knee to follow up. Ripley catches a jumping Morgan and hits a suplex.

#3 Dana Brooke.

Brooke jumps for a double drop kick then a handspring back elbow for Morgan but Ripley catches her only for Brooke to post Ripley. Hip toss from Brook to Morgan then a basement drop kick. Brook catches Morgan on the top rope and hits a superplex.

#4 Emma.

Ripley and Brooke botch something before Emma gets to the ring. Emma snaps Ripley over the middle rope then hits a Russian leg sweep onto Ripley as well. Everyone gangs up on Ripley for a bit and they look to get rid of her.

#5 Shayna Baszler.

Baszler goes after Emma with a gutwrench facebuster, then attacks the arm of Ripley. Morgan gets involved and lands kicks but Baszler grabs an ankle lock then kicks her. Modified backbreaker from Baszler to Brooke then a stomp to the arm.

#6 Bayley.

Morgan with an ObLIVion on Bayley, she tries to eliminate Bayley but Bayley survives. Bayley attacks Morgan and tries to get the crowd to care, she’s only partially successful. The crowd is not too into this so far.

#7 B-Fab.

Well let’s see how this goes, though Hit Row in general is not going to get the crowd back. Some strikes from B-Fab, then a really bad side kick to Bayley. Ripley headbutts B-Fab down then ejects her from the Rumble. There’s some blood on Ripley, not sure if it’s hers or B-Fab’s but there’s blood.

#8 Roxanne Perez.

Perez sprints to the ring, she hits a crossbody to Brooke then runs wild on Emma and Baszler. Around the world head scissors from Perez to Ripley and the crowd wakes up. Perez with a running uppercut to Bayley. Everyone tries to eliminate Bayley but Bayley holds on.

#9 Dakota Kai.

Kai saves Bayley and hits a uranage backbreaker to Perez then a scorpion kick to Emma. Bayley and Kai pose, then get attacked by everyone else.

#10 Iyo Sky.

Iyo flies in onto Morgan and Brooke. Baszler avoids an attack from Iyo but Iyo follows up with a drop kick. Emma avoids elimination, then Bayley and Kai toss Brooke out of the match. Emma now gets sent to the apron and Kai kicks her out of the match. Perez nearly dumps Kai but Iyo and Bayley save her. Perez unloads with strikes before all of Damage Control are able to eliminate her.

#11 Natalya.

Baszler is afraid, Natalya has been MIA since Baszler broke her nose and Natalya lays out several women before Baszler attacks her from behind. Everything settles down pretty quickly.

#12 Candice LeRae.

Candice goes right after Kai, she gets both Iyo and Kai in position for an elimination but they hang on long enough for Baszler to wipe out Candice with a knee strike. Natalya and Baszler square off, no reaction from the crowd until Natalya lands a slap then a German suplex. Baszler nearly tosses Natalya, but Natalya avoids a knee then tosses Baszler to the apron where Damage Control eliminate both Natalya and Baszler.

#13 Zoey Stark.

Stark runs wild with super kicks and a wheel kick to Kai. Half nelson suplex to Iyo from Stark then a kick to Ripley’s face. Stark tries to toss Ripley but Ripley holds on. Candice and Morgan get attacked by Bayley, Kai, and Iyo.

#14 Xia Li.

Li comes in with kicks to Candice and Kai. Tornado kick to Ripley then a spike elbow in the corner. Damage Control attack Li to slow her down then Candice hits a double neckbreaker onto Kai and Iyo. Bayley goes after Candice but this time Candice avoids them. Iyo is able to shove Candice off of the top rope and to the floor to eliminate her.

#15 Becky Lynch.

Damage Control attack on the ramp but Becky drops Kai and Iyo then goes after Bayley in the ring. Becky has woken the crowd up a bit if nothing else. Bayley tosses Becky through the ropes, she and Becky start brawling on the ringside area. The numbers catch up to Becky though and they toss Becky into the barricade. They launch Becky over the announce table.

#16 Tegan Nox.

Nox with a Molly go Round to Ripley then an uppercut for Li. Running attacks from Nox and a senton in the corner to Morgan and Kai. Gordbuster from Nox to Li then a knee to Kai. Nox and Morgan team up to attack Stark and send her out to the apron.

#17 Asuka.

The place came alive for Asuka, who removes her Kabuki mask to reveal evil clown Kana personality. Asuka takes down Nox and Morgan then drops Stark with a German suplex. Bayley is in the sighs of Asuka now, Asuka laughs at her and clobbers her with a striking flurry, nearly eliminating Bayley but Bayley survives. Nox attacks Asuka and lands a kick. Asuka low bridges Nox then kicks her to the floor.

#18 Piper Niven.

They’re letting her go by Piper Niven now, good. Piper runs wild and hits a senton on Li. Back elbow floors Bayley, then Piper slams Morgan onto Bayley and hits a low crossbody onto both of them.

#19 Tamina.

Piper and Tamina square up, then kind of team up to take down some of the other wrestlers for a moment. Tamina and Piper start trading strikes then Tamina lands a super kick. Kai with a chop block to Tamina and Damage Control jump on her. Becky returns to the fray and unloads on Bayley then takes out Iyo and Dakota with a revers DDT and a regular DDT at the same time.

#20 Chelsea Green.

Green gets tossed immediately by Ripley. Corey Graves didn’t even get a chance to make fun of Green’s husband. Becky ejects Kai then tosses Iyo out of the match only for Bayley to toss Becky out of the Rumble. Morgan then dumps Bayley out of the match. The brawl between Becky and Damage Control continues on the floor.

#21 Zelina Vega.

Zelina is dressed as Juri from Street Fighter 6. Zelina with a Code Red to Ripley. Piper puts Zelina on the apron, Zelina kicks her then points at the sign before squaring up with Li on the apron. Some 2D fighter action from Li and Zelina before Zelina kicks Li out of the match. Flying Codebreaker from Zelina to Piper.

#22 Raquel Rodriguez.

Raquel immediately boots Tamina and hits a Snake Eyes on Zelina. Running wild from Raquel, including a sick western lariat to Ripley. Stark is caught by Raquel and Raquel hits the fall away slam. Spinning slam to Asuka. Zelina gets grabbed by Raquel, and set on the top rope before Zelina hits a flying head scissors.

#23 Michin.

Michin comes in with a DDT to Stark then she starts landing a lot of kicks. Around the world DDT from Michin to Ripley. Piper then cuts off Michin with a slam. Raquel and Stark square up and trade strikes.

#24 Lacey Evans.

Evans with a pump kick to Piper then tosses Morgan into Tamina, sort of. Tamina looks to toss Evans, Evans fights on the apron and trips Stark then comes back in with an elbow drop to Stark. Tamina drops Evans with a clothesline.

#25 Michelle McCool.

Michelle shoves Tamina into the ring steps then hits a belly to belly on Morgan. Styles Clash to Zelina from Michelle. Tamina nearly gets tossed by Michelle, then Michelle kicks Tamina off of the apron and eliminates her. Ripley gets kicked down by Michelle.

#26 Indi Hartwell.

Indi clotheslines Stark and Morgan, then kicks Michin and Raquel. Spinebuster from Indi to Stark, sort of. Commentary roasts Booker T’s knowledge of NXT talent despite him calling that show weekly.

#27 Sonya Deville.

Sonya takes her time getting to the ring, for which we’re all grateful as less of her in the ring is better. When Sonya comes in she knees Stark then tosses her out of the match. Knee to Raquel from Sonya. Asuka lays in kicks to Sonya, Sonya returns them before we get a double head kick and they’re both down. Evans stomps on Zelina for a bit then grabs a Cobra Clutch in the ropes to put Zelina out then dumps her to the floor. Credit to Zelina selling unconsciousness on the fall, that didn’t look pleasant.

#28 Shotzi.

Shotzi climbs the ropes and dives onto Raquel and Piper. Kicks from Shotzi to Michin. Shotzi sets Evans on the apron, Sonya nearly dumps Shotzi but has to settle for taking out Indi with a shove out of a springboard. Raquel grabs Sonya, nearly takes her out but can’t finish the job.

#29 Nikki Cross.

Nikki sprints to the ring and unloads on everything that moves. Spinning neckbreaker from Nikki to Shotzi and everything slows down again.

#30 Nia Jax.

They badly, and I mean BADLY, botched the timing on Nia’s entrance. Nia talks trash to everyone, but everyone jumps her at the same time before Nia tosses them off. A bunch of people bounce off of Nia before Nia and Raquel go face to face. Raquel can’t quite lift Nia and Nia lands a headbutt. Morgan gets slammed by Nia then Michell kicks her in the face, Asuka hits a spinning back fist, Codebreakers from Morgan and Asuka follow up and Ripley can’t lift Nia. Ripley does hoist Nia up for a Riptide and everyone gangs up to toss Nia out of the match.

Michelle and Nikki are going at it. Nikki slams Michelle down. Raquel tries to takeout Evans but Evans lands on the apron, only to eat a western lariat and Evans is gone. Asuka and Raquel square up now, Asuka lands a series of strikes, then Raquel tries a Tejana Bomb but Asuka switches into an armbar, Raquel rolls through and powers her up for a Tejana Bomb over the ropes but Asuka lands on the apron. Now Raquel tries to take out Sonya, but Asuka and Sonya fight on the apron leading to Asuka head kicking Sonya to the floor and eliminating her. Ripley tosses Michelle out of the match. Michin hoists Shotzi up, gets her to the apron and takes her out with Sole Food. Piper then launches Michin over the ropes onto Shotzi. Raquel and Piper square up and bounce off of each other before Piper hits a back suplex and a cannonball senton. Piper climbs to the second rope, but Raquel catches her and sends her to the apron then lands a big boot to eliminate her. Raquel with a Tejana Bomb to Ripley, they wind up on the apron both of them but Ripley kicks Raquel to the floor.

Final Four are Nikki, Asuka, Ripley, and Morgan.

Nikki sets for an apron DDT but Morgan takes her out and saves Asuka. Pulling for Evil Clown Asuka here, for what it’s worth. I mean we know it’s Ripley now but still. Asuka takes out Morgan and Ripley with kicks, then Morgan hits a Codebreaker to Asuka. Morgan nearly tosses Ripley but Ripley pulls her to the apron with her. Kick from Morgan, Asuka tries a hip attack but Ripley catches her and everyone’s on the apron now. Asuka mists Morgan and Ripley trips up Asuka to eliminate her. Morgan is blind but hits a Codebreaker on the apron, Ripley hangs on though. Blind Morgan gets caught by the legs of Ripley and Ripley tosses her out to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Rhea Ripley won

Rating: 3 stars

Decent Rumble, the winner became pretty obvious about half way through but that’s not always a bad thing. This wasn’t nearly as filled with cameos and filler as last year, it just felt really dead during the middle portion when the connective tissue was supposed to be Damage Control stuff and Damage Control is lacking a ton of momentum. Really nice final sequence on the apron from Asuka, Morgan, and Ripley though.

We get a recap of the men’s Rumble, specifically focused on Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley. Then, because we just need this to go on longer, a song from Hardy. Can we just stop please? Concerts at wrestling events never work well.

Match #5 – Undisputed WWE Universal Title Match: (c) Roman Reigns w/ Sami Zayn and Paul Heyman vs. Kevin Owens

A little slow circling to start, pretty loud “Sami Uso” chant, which Owens remarks on. They tie up, then Roman grabs a side headlock and hits a shoulder block. Another tie up, Roman grabs another side headlock then he hits another shoulder block. Roman grabs another headlock, then hits the ropes but this time Owens lands a back elbow and a senton. Now Owens stomps on Roman in the corner and hits a cannonball senton. Roman takes a powder but Owens follows him and starts throwing hands. Roman fires back with punches and a headbutt. More brawling on the ringside area, and Owens lands a clothesline then a senton on the floor. Back in the ring Owens keeps punching to back up Roman. Roman sends Owens hard into the corner. Uranage from Roman gets a 2 count. Sami is in position for a cheap shot, but doesn’t take it and just sets up Roman for the Drive By kick on the apron. Some tight cross face blows from Roman then a chin lock. Owens fights up but Roman just floors him with a right hand. Owens lands a chop, Roman barely moves and unloads with clotheslines in the corner. Roman runs into a punch and they start trading strikes again. Big boot from Roman, but Owens drops him with a clothesline. Owens just keeps fighting, Roman lands a kick but Owens clotheslines him out of the ring.

Owens hits a Frog Splash off the apron to the floor. Back in the ring Owens heads up top, Frog Splash again gets a near fall. Roman’s near fall timing is still among the very best in the world. Owens calls on Roman and tries a super kick but Roman blocks it and yanks Owens into the air for a sit out powerbomb for a 2 count. Roman misses a Superman punch and Owens lands a German suplex but when he tries to follow up Roman lands the Superman punch for a 2 count. Now Roman sets for the Spear, but Owens moves and posts Roman then lands a super kick. Owens up top, Swanton Bomb but only a near fall as Jeff Hardy complains once again to Shannon Moore about his finish being devalued. Sorry, that’s a real obscure reference. Owens goes up top again, but Roman cuts him off with a right hand. Roman and Owens fight on the top rope, Owens might get the best of things but Roman punches him again then tries a superplex only for Owens to headbutt him down then land an elbow. Owens botches a double springboard moonsault, hits a senton then misses a moonsault to set up the Spear from Roman but only a near fall.

Roman wants another Spear, but Owens cuts him off, tries a Stunner but Roman shoves him off and we’ve got a ref bump. Owens with a pop up powerbomb, but no ref on the cover. Sami debates getting involved, and Roman crushes Owens with a low blow, still no ref. Roman wants a chair and tells Sami to get him one, Sami briefly objects then finds one eventually. Sami hesitates on handing the chair to Roman but does eventually, only for Roman to turn into a Stunner from Owens and here’s a ref for a near fall. Again, Roman’s near fall timing is damn near peerless. Owens wants another pop up powerbomb but Roman counters with a Superman punch, another Spear, but again Owens kicks out! Now Owens has rolled out of the ring and crawls around, he’s right by Sami and Sami seems conflicted. Sami tells Owens to stay down, but Owens wont and here comes Roman to Spear Owens through the barricade. Back in the ring Roman watches as Owens rolls out of the ring to preserve the match. I think Owens is bleeding, no just lighting. But Roman slams Owens down onto the ring steps, that was legitimately sickening, so naturally Roman does it again. Roman sends Owens back in the ring, as Heyman tells Sami to acknowledge the Tribal Chief. Sami puts the finger up, but he looks rough. Roman slaps Owens around, but Owens fights back, only to eat another Spear and we’re done.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Roman Reigns retained the titles

Rating: 3.5 stars

Not the best match between these two technically but the emotional element and overall story telling were on point. A couple of really gnarly looking spots as well, Owens is kind of a madman like that.

Post match the entire Bloodline are in the ring. Jey offers a lei to Sami but Roman halts him. Roman calls for a further beating to Owens, Jimmy and Jey oblige him. 1D to Owens, Sami looks on conflicted. Jimmy and Jey set Owens up for a Solo Sikoa hip attack with a chair assistance, Sami tries to plead for Owens with Roman but Roman is merciless and Solo delivers the hip attack. Paul Heyman produces handcuffs for Roman, he hands them to Jimmy and Jey, who cuff Owens upright in the ropes. Super kicks from Jimmy and Jey, over and over again. If this is a preview of what’s going to happen to Sami in the near future it’s going to get absolutely insane heat. Roman takes in the “Sami” chants, and Roman tells Owens that messing with his family like Sami is not acceptable. Roman goes for a chair shot but Sami steps in front of Owens. Sami claims this is enough, that Roman has done enough and has won. He says this is beneath Roman and that Roman is better than this. Roman considers, takes a deep breath then hands the chair to Sami. Sami doesn’t want to take it, Roman says Sami is right, this is beneath Roman but Sami should do it. Heyman tells Sami this is his moment. Roman tells Sami to take the chair, and tells him there is no going back now, we’ve gone too far. Roman reminds Sami that Owens has dragged him down, and Roman has given him everything, and if he doesn’t want to be Bloodline he can go and do Jackass shit. Sami raises the chair, he’s behind Roman and there’s tension in the crowd there. Roman demands Sami pull the trigger, then notices that Sami is crying. Some slaps from Roman to Sami, this isn’t a game, this is Roman’s whole life, and if Sami is with them he has to do this. Sami again raises the chair and cracks Roman in the back with it. Roman’s more stunned than hurt. Sami then gets super kicked by Jimmy and he’s down. Roman is a mess in the corner, Jimmy jumps on Sami but Solo shoves him off to crush Sami with a Samoan Spike. Jimmy unloads on Sami with punches as Solo holds him and roman talks trash. Roman yells that he gave Sami the world. Jey isn’t doin anything yet though, now he looks conflicted. Jimmy calls Jey on, reminding him that he’s his brother, not Sami. Roman slowly approaches Jey, but Jey just rolls out of the ring almost in tears. Jey walks to the back, Roman sees his empire starting to crumble and yells at Sami for breaking his family. Now Roman absolutely unloads on Sami with the chair then vicious elbows to the head. Jimmy hands Roman the lei as a loud “Fuck you Roman” chant breaks out. Roman tears the lei up and drops the flowers on Sami’s fallen body. Jimmy waves a torn “Honorary Uce” shirt above Sami then super kicks Owens again for good measure. The remaining Bloodline wait on the entrance ramp, as Roman warns Solo that they’ll be dealing with Sami now. That ends the show.

article topics :

Royal Rumble, Robert Winfree